What the teams said – Race Day in Portugal
Bottas made a great start from pole, and also at the subsequent restart behind the Safety Car. But the Finn couldn’t extract the same pace from the W12 today as Hamilton and spent much of his race under pressure. Much of that pressure came from his team mate, who wound up victorious but was made to work hard for the win. First, he had to pass Verstappen, then he was made to sweat it out in the dirty air behind his team mate for lap after lap before finally squeezing past for the lead and ultimately, the win. As for the Finn, pitting a lap later than Verstappen cost him P2 and a late sensor issue prevented a sustained attack on the Dutchman in the closing stages.
Lewis Hamilton, 1st
"That was such a tough race, physically and mentally, just keeping everything together. It was very windy out there, obviously, so it was easy to put a foot wrong. I didn't quite get as good a start as Valtteri, then lost out on the restart which was not good. I was not happy about that, naturally. But that race was satisfying, when you're in third and have to overtake two amazing drivers - amazing! Having races like that is what I live for.
"The gap between us all is so close and every single point is going to count this year. I love the battle, I've loved it since my days in karting and as a team, we can't leave any stone unturned - we've got to continue to push this car, squeeze everything out of it."
Valtteri Bottas, 3rd
"Obviously not what I was aiming for today because when you start from pole, you want to bring home the win. I think ultimately the main issue was the first stint - I was struggling for pace and I still don't understand why. The warm-up with the hard tyre was slow after the pit stop and Max managed to catch me. Then we had an exhaust temperature sensor issue later in the race which cost me speed on the straight so it was difficult to close in on Max and fight for P2. Eventually the power came back and I was able to set the fastest lap which could be an important point.
"We need to analyse this weekend over the next two days, learn the lessons and then focus on next weekend - we go again."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Absolutely stunning drive from Lewis and it seemed under control all through the race. You could see, and hear in his voice, how much he was pushing. An incredible drive. Valtteri had some real pace at the beginning and you could see that it was difficult for Lewis to catch up, it was real speed. But then eventually Lewis managed to get past and off he went.
"The exhaust sensor issue was unfortunate for Valtteri later in the race because he really caught up well to Max and then it kind of stabilised at 1.5/1.6 seconds, but he had more to come at the end of the race. We couldn't override the faulty sensor so the engine went into protection mode and that cost him 5 seconds. Valtteri probably would have had a shot on Max at the end if we were not to let him down on the power unit. I think we need to give him credit.
"When we were behind in testing and in Bahrain, it's a buzz that I have not felt in the Team since 2013 when we had that first sniff that we could be there. The whole place is excited and continues to be excited. I'd like to be happy after Abu Dhabi at the end of the season but for the time being, we'll take it one step at a time."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"A really impressive and well-deserved win from Lewis; two solid overtakes to take the lead and he controlled it from there to the finish. Valtteri did a good job at the start and the restart but seemed to be lacking a bit of pace on the medium which allowed Verstappen to get within undercut range. That, together with a moment at turn 4, allowed Max to pass. Valtteri had strong pace on the hard tyre and we thought he was going to be able to take the position back from Max until an exhaust temperature sensor put an end to our hopes. As a consolation, he was able to pull enough time on Perez to earn a free stop to go for fastest lap. We'll review the timing of our call as we opened the window for Red Bull to also have a go and had it not been for Max's mistake at T14, we'd have lost a valuable point to them.
"Overall, we can be pleased with the result this weekend, we've consolidated our lead in both championships and we had good pace on low and high fuel. However, the margins are super fine and it's a reminder that we need to get everything right to beat Red Bull. We've got a difficult race next week in Barcelona; it's a tyre overheating track like Bahrain so we'll be using the next few days to prepare ourselves for that challenge."
Verstappen pounced on Hamilton at the restart, and was pushing Bottas close for the lead. At that point it looked like the Red Bulls had the pace for the win today, but the Dutchman started to struggle on the straights. He was re-passed by Hamilton, but at least managed to get Bottas after the pit stops. As for Perez, he really struggled with tyre warm-up, dropping two places at the start. By the time he recovered to fourth, the front three were a long way up the road, so the Mexican had a lonely race but still brought good points home for the team.
Max Verstappen, 2nd
“Something about this track really does not suit our car and I think in general this was a bit of an off weekend in terms of grip and overall pace. We knew last year that we weren’t particularly strong here, so this year has been a bit better and we managed to finish ahead of one Mercedes, but it wasn’t quite good enough to get them both.
"Nevertheless, second is still a pretty good result and we always knew this season would be up and down in terms of the tracks we were strong at and the ones Mercedes were. The race today was pretty decent though and we were all constantly pushing which was nice. I tried to put the pressure on Valtteri in the beginning as he was struggling for grip, but clearly Lewis behind had more pace and he made it past us both.
"I was then able to undercut Valtteri in the pit stop but you could clearly see on the hard tyres we were just a bit slower, some laps we could match Lewis and others it was just not possible. Towards the end of the race Valtteri was even coming back at me which showed their pace today. It’s a shame the Fastest Lap got taken away, stupid track limits [laughs], they should just put gravel back! It is what it is, we always try and I had the gap so we went for it.
"We scored good points here but I’m looking forward to Barcelona, a track that has more normal grip levels and where I have good memories. I think we will also see a clearer picture of how teams have been progressing. It’s a long season ahead so a lot can happen.”
Sergio Perez, 4th
“Today was a busy race on my side! Lando managed to get past me at Turn 4 but I thought he had all four wheels off the track so I didn’t defend thinking he’d have to give the place back due to track limits but that wasn’t the case. It was a misjudgment on my side and a mistake but being stuck behind Lando compromised our race and cost us a lot of time.
"When I got past him my pace was good but I think the damage had already been done. Afterwards we tried to do something different with strategy by going long in the hope of a Safety Car but it didn’t work out and fourth was the maximum we could do. We are definitely making good progression with the car and the race pace, I am understanding it more and more with the extra kilometres I am driving.
"Of course there are still areas I need to get on top of and improve but it’s just a process and we’ll continue working hard for next week in Barcelona. It’s been very close again with Mercedes all weekend and I think this will be the case for the entire season. Some weekends they will be faster and others we will be so we just have to make sure we keep our heads down and continue working hard.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
"Looking at today we can see that this championship is going to be a marathon and not a sprint. It’s so tight and it’s going to be all about marginal gains. Max drove the wheels off the car again today, snatching second from Mercedes and it’s super tight between him and Lewis.
"With Max, it was frustrating to lose the point for Fastest Lap at the end of the race due to track limits which I think we agree need to be consistent throughout the race weekend. Similarly with Sergio, he lost out to a case of track limits when he was overtaken by the McLaren but once he got back past, his race pace was good so he is definitely getting there and the races are coming together for him.
"In clean air his pace was matching that of the leaders so I’m pleased with the progress he is making. On the whole, second and fourth place means plenty of points and there’s only eight separating Max and Lewis in the championship. Barcelona next week will be the benchmark and we’ll get our heads down until then when hopefully we get a clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses of all the cars."
Norris tussled with Ocon on the opening lap but once he made his way past, he looked very comfortable through the pit stop period, untroubled in coming home ‘best of the rest’ to remain an impressive P3 in the drivers’ championship. Ricciardo had to work harder for his points – he climbed up to P10 on merit before moving further forward after running a very long opening stint. Once he pitted, he returned back to P10 but managed to pick off Gasly to grab a couple of hard-won points.
Daniel Ricciardo, 9th
“Today was certainly a better day. I was able to do what I set out to do and overtake some cars, have some battles and get rid of some anger from yesterday, so that was good. I think there were moments of the race that were really positive and having got another race distance under me, I feel like I’ve got quite a bit of feedback for the team. I definitely feel some things which are holding me back in terms of what I want to do with the car, and every time I try it, it doesn’t quite hold on. So, I think there are some things we can immediately address with the set up, and then with some updates to come. Overall, I’m pretty optimistic with how the race went, thanks again to the team at track and in Woking for their support and hard work this weekend. I’m already looking forward to Spain in a few days’ time."
Lando Norris, 5th
"Very happy with today. It was a strong race by the whole team, and a well-executed strategy. I got past the people I needed to get ahead of in the early laps at the start, then the restart and the pit stop. I'm really pleased for everyone in the team and with my performance. We scored some good points and P5 was the best we could achieve today, so I’m very happy. Big thanks to everyone here and back at the factory for their hard work."
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“Today we saw a great recovery drive. Well done to the entire team here at the track and back home, to both our drivers and to our colleagues from Mercedes HPP for striking back after a disappointing qualifying session yesterday. Lando completed another excellent weekend with a very strong drive to P5. Starting from P16, Daniel managed a very good first stint, making up a lot of positions at the start, delaying his pit-stop to gain further places, and then attacking at the end to finish P9, scoring another two important points for himself and for the team in the constructors’ championship.
“This result strengthened our hold on third position in the constructors’ championship, which is obviously very encouraging. It’s important we keep developing the car and delivering strong performances over the next few races – starting at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in less than five days’ time.”
Starting on the softs, Sainz was looking good in comparison to his midfield rivals. An early stop in an attempt to undercut Norris ultimately backfired though, as his tyres ran out of life in the closing stages sending him plummeting back through the field. As for Leclerc, he ran a surprisingly short opening stint on the mediums but had enough pace to make his way up to sixth in the second half of the race.
Charles Leclerc, 6th
"I can’t be satisfied with P6, and overall, I haven’t been performing at my best this weekend. That said, looking at my drive in the race, I am happy with the job I did. I had a good start to the first stint, but then Carlos and I both struggled a lot with graining on the medium tyre, which didn’t seem to affect the others so much. As a team, we have to understand what happened there.
"A fifth may have been possible today, but I don’t think we could have done much more."
Carlos Sainz, 11th
"We didn’t have a good day. Even though I got a good start, the race was very tough after the pit stop. During the first stint I was feeling very good on the Soft tyre behind Lando, Then, we tried the undercut by changing quite early onto the medium and it didn’t work. From there on, it was a big struggle to make it to the end with that compound due to the graining.
"I’m disappointed, as I feel we had a good opportunity to score good points today. We will analyse the race, learn from the strategy, from the tyres and from the car behaviour. On to Spain."
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
"Today’s result was not what we were expecting. We were unable to capitalise on the potential seen in qualifying and that cost us a lot of points in the constructors’ classification. Charles drove a very solid race, making up some of the ground lost yesterday. Carlos had a difficult race, especially in the second stint.
"In just a few days, we are back in action in Spain. On a very demanding track like the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, we will need to be prepared down to the smallest detail to make the most of our potential throughout the weekend."
Alpine might have lucked into their double points finish last time out, but there was no luck involved today as they repeated that feat. Ocon picked up where he left off yesterday, looking consistently quick as he came home solidly in the points. He was joined there by his team mate, Alonso finding his feet in the latter stages of the race to squeeze past Gasly, Sainz and even Ricciardo in a much more spirited showing from the veteran.
Esteban Ocon, 7th
“I’m very happy with the race today, and I think we achieved our maximum. Having both cars in the points shows our progress and also how we’ve had a strong weekend overall. Everyone in the team has contributed to this progress and, fighting with the Ferraris and McLarens shows we’ve improved the car and the package. The overtakes today were very enjoyable! We want to keep the momentum going and score more points. We know next week will be different, but we aim to continue the progress, keep the level of speed and I’m looking forward to it.”
Fernando Alonso, 8th
“It was a very good weekend in general. The car has performed well, and we’ve made a big step forwards, fighting with the likes of Ferrari and McLaren in the race, which is different to where we were in Bahrain and Imola. It was the first race weekend where I felt comfortable and could push the car hard. Well done to everyone in the team, I think the progression we’ve made is very good. I think it could have been even better for us had we started higher on the grid. Performance on Saturday will be the key for the next two races in Barcelona and Monaco, so I need to focus on maximising my one lap speed starting next weekend.”
Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director
“It was an entertaining race for us today, with lots of close battles and overtakes for both drivers, rewarded by good points at the finish line. We were fighting with Ferrari and McLaren and this is where we want to be. Formula 1 is more fun when you’re racing near the front! Today’s race was well managed from start to finish. Our strategy was spot on, both drivers managed their first stint well then were able to push on the hard tyres in the second, enjoying themselves and making up positions. We’re on a good trajectory after this weekend thanks to the hard work by the team at the track, in Enstone and in Viry. There’s still pace to be found, though, for the next few races and that all begins next week when we go racing again in Barcelona.”
Their qualifying pace has been good all year, but AlphaTauri can’t quite replicate that come race day. Gasly stuck around on the fringes of the top 10 all race despite losing positions to his midfield rivals, and was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of Sainz’s tyre woes to steal back the final point on offer. Tsunoda couldn’t get as involved in the action after starting further back, with the AT02 another car to struggle with the windy conditions in Portimao.
Pierre Gasly, 10th
“Honestly, today was really difficult – it wasn’t the race we wanted but, to be honest, it was what we expected. We’ve really struggled here across the weekend, only just making it through to the top 10 in qualifying, so I think to come away with a point is positive. I was happy at the start of the race as I was managing to follow Charles, but ultimately we lacked pace – due to having no grip in the low-speed corners - and in the end I think it was great to pass Carlos to get a point for the team. I think the circuit in Barcelona will suit our car more, as it’s a much faster track, so I’m hoping that we’ll perform better there in a few days’ time.”
Yuki Tsunoda, 15th
“It was really tough today, I had no grip at the beginning of the race and there was just no pace at all for me out there. I’ve struggled all weekend with the balance of the car, the conditions haven’t helped, but everyone has been driving the same track so we just need to analyse the data, to see what didn’t work for us here in Portugal, and learn from it ahead of next weekend in Spain.”
No points for Aston Martin this weekend, the team lacking the pace to compete with their midfield rivals. Vettel was picked off by a couple of cars in the opening stage of the race, while Stroll gambled on a soft-shod start. The Canadian ran an impressively long stint on the C3 rubber but it was to no avail, tumbling down the order when he eventually pitted. Those two did exchange places a couple of times on track, with the German eventually coming home just in front.
Sebastian Vettel, 13th
“That was quite a busy and difficult race with a very long stint on the medium tyres. I do not think we could have done anything different with the strategy, but, overall, we did not have enough pace or consistency to hold onto the group fighting for points. On the positive side, I will have some new parts on my car next week, which we feel are a step in the right direction. But the real priority is to have a clean Saturday, which is the key to a better Sunday.”
Lance Stroll, 14th
“It was not our best day, but I think we were a bit stronger in race conditions than we were yesterday. Ultimately, a challenging Saturday meant that we were on the back foot today. The car felt better balanced in the race though, and we made up several places in the first half, but we just lacked that little bit more to make it into the points. If we had had a slightly better qualifying, points could have been possible. However, we will not dwell on today too much, but we will learn what we can and make improvements ahead of next weekend. We will arrive in Barcelona in a stronger position.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“Lance drove a good race from a less than optimal grid slot, never put a foot wrong, and ended up finishing 14th in a race that contained very little attrition. Towards the end, he was running just behind Sebastian, but on fresher tyres, so we asked Sebastian to let Lance past so that he could have a go at trying to catch and pass the cars ahead, to give us an outside chance of nicking a point. In the end, Lance was not able to do that so, very sportingly, he gave the place back to Sebastian on the final lap. Obviously, we are disappointed not to have been able to score any points today, but the good news is that the Spanish Grand Prix is next weekend, so we have a chance to correct that in just a few days’ time.”
Adjusting his steering wheel as he went for an overtake, Raikkonen got it very wrong and wound up hitting his team mate. That did for the Finn’s front wing, which lodged itself under his car and led to Raikkonen sliding off through the gravel and into an early retirement. Fortunately Giovinazzi was able to continue unscathed, but despite a careful race from there, he couldn’t advance nearer the points.
Kimi Raikkonen, DNF
“You never want to have contact with your team mate, and this time unfortunately it was my mistake. I got caught out by the slipstream and ended up driving into Antonio. I couldn’t do much after that, the front wing got stuck under the car and I couldn’t steer: all I could do was go straight into the gravel. It’s a disappointment as we looked like we had decent pace, I made a really good start and the race could have been positive. The only upside was that at least Antonio didn’t get any damage and was able to continue.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 12th
“I feel we got all we could from the race today: it wasn’t possible to get any closer than this to the top 10. After the contact with Kimi, from which thankfully I didn’t get damage, and the Safety Car, nothing really happened in the front which made it really difficult to break into the points: I started 12th and finished there. I still had a fun race, some battles with Alonso and Vettel which kept me busy: I was happy to be able to pass Seb and keep both Aston Martins behind until the race. We will continue working hard to get into the points soon.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“It was a mixed Sunday for us: on the one hand, we lost one car through contact between team mates, which is one of the worst things that can happen, in a sporting sense, to a team; on the other hand, Antonio did a really good job in the remaining car, keeping behind most of our direct rivals and finishing just outside the points. We keep showing how competitive the car can be in the race, but we still miss something to be in the top ten in normal circumstances: our work doesn’t stop and we will keep pushing to get there consistently.”
After such a good Saturday, Russell couldn’t replicate that form or pace on what proved to be a very difficult day for the team. Their car is sensitive to the wind, which picked up steadily throughout the race. With the Englishman tumbling backwards at the restart, he had a frustrating afternoon towards the rear of the field after a qualifying that had promised so much. Likewise Latifi had a long day of it, unable to make any headway from a lowly grid slot.
George Russell, 16th
"After yesterday we were all hoping for more, but that was an incredibly challenging race. Our car does not suit these conditions, when the wind picks up it becomes a real struggle. It’s a shame but the positives are that we know the strengths and the weaknesses of the car, and so we just have to hope that moving forward we get some slightly calmer conditions which allow us to demonstrate those strengths."
Nicholas Latifi, 18th
"It was difficult out there today. We always struggle with the opening laps and that was evident with George starting much higher up and then after the first few laps he was back where I was. It feels very on edge and we need to do some analysis to try and find a solution. There is definitely something we are missing at the moment, and we need to try and improve it ahead of Barcelona."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"Today was very difficult and we simply didn’t have the pace. We found it difficult in the conditions today and although we held our position at the start, it was much more difficult on the medium tyre following the early safety car. The car has shown some good traits this weekend, but we are still lacking the stability that we need to be able to race in the pack. With the tyres hard to keep in their working window, once you start losing places, it is very difficult to recover.
"We now have a quick turnaround to get the team to Barcelona ready for the next race. It will be interesting to see how the car behaves at a circuit that we know well."
Haas always had an uphill battle on their hands today, but the conditions played into their favour somewhat with Williams struggling for grip in the wind. That meant Schumacher could get involved in a lengthy battle with Latifi, the German eventually getting by with a couple of laps to go. As for Mazepin, he was penalised for a blue flag infringement, and had five seconds added to his race time, although he was set to prop up the field either way.
Mick Schumacher, 17th
“It was a challenging race and unfortunately overtaking is quite difficult around here. It was tough for us lap after lap having to follow close-by, especially in the midfield where we were quite strong. Being that close – you just burn up your tyres and obviously then it gets difficult. Eventually we pushed the Williams into a mistake, then we kind of had a free run and were able to show our pace. If we had cleared Nicholas (Latifi) earlier, I think we could maybe even have had the pace to catch up to and fight with George (Russell). Overall, we wanted a clean race and to see the chequered flag. We managed that and everything went well.”
Nikita Mazepin, 19th
“I think the race was positive if you look at the lap times. Obviously, we realized we were not fighting for any top positions, we converted to our Plan C, which wasn’t the optimum in terms of the overall finishing delta, but it was definitely the optimum for not receiving the blue flags. It allowed us to get those laps in and see how the car behaves and where we should be improving. The first few laps were good but after that I need to improve the way I was driving – that will come with experience. In terms of learning, it was a decent race. There are loads of things that I can improve on my side.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“It was a weekend with progress. I know I keep on using the word progress, but that is what we need to make, and we’re doing it. The whole weekend was good in my opinion. When you sit there and you can’t get by Latifi, frustration sets in – and that’s a good thing as it means we could have more. In the end Mick passed him, and that was good, but maybe we missed out on George (Russell) being on the radar if we’d passed Latifi earlier – but we take it step by step. Nikita also made progress, as much as the result may not show it. We put him on a new set of tyres just to give him more time to drive the car at the limit. With all the blue flags, there was a risk with his C1 tyres that they’d cool down too much – then it would have been no fun to drive. He fell a bit back because of that but he completed the race once again. He’s making progress, he’s getting faster every weekend as well.”
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"The warmer weather led to increased wear on the softer compounds compared to previous days, which meant that drivers had to manage their tyres more. This additionally shifted the emphasis towards the hard compound, also because of track evolution providing a bit more grip than before. All three tyres stood out for different reasons. The hard tyre was key here this afternoon in these conditions, which is why it was used by most drivers for the final stint, including Lewis Hamilton, who drove a perfect race. The soft, although used least in the race – and mainly for short opening stints as expected – was also run for nearly 40 laps by Lance Stroll, while Sergio Perez completed a mammoth stint on the mediums for the bulk of the race as part of an unusual yet effective strategy".